Friday, May 26, 2017

Very difficult

The Society of Friends General Conference (rather like a synod of the Quakers) runs a bookstore and they send out a newsletter about their books.  Yesterday's introduced me to Mr. Terry Waite.  He is or was an employee of the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the main figure in the Church of England.  He got involved with hostage negotiations and during a very challenging and upsetting period in Beirut, Lebanon, accepted requests to go there and try to negotiate the release of some British and other hostages, some of whom were elderly and not in the best health.  His boss was reluctant to approve the trip and both men knew that the whole deal was very dangerous.  It turned out that the kidnappers broke their word and took Waite into captivity, too.  He was held captive for five years, nearly all of the time chained and blindfolded.


Waite has a couple of books about his work and that experience.  The most recent is "Out of the Silence".  I read a few years ago about a Tibetan Buddhist monk held by the Chinese for 33 years.  That man, Palden Gyatso, was eventually released and the Dalai Lama talked with him.  When asked what was the most difficult part of the long imprisonment and torture, he answered that he feared losing compassion for his torturers. Gyatso has a book called "Fire Under the Snow".


I am confident that there are many other unbelievable stories like that of these two men.  

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